'Extra Time' opens as the Chronus Art Center's inaugural show in Shanghai on the 23rd of August. The exhibition was initiated as a 'West Heavens' project in 2010 to invite Raqs Media Collective to create artworks specially for the Chinese audience.The show brings together new and recent work by Raqs Media Collective (New Delhi, India) focusing on their investigations of time and temporality in different registers that span the spectrum of their diverse practice ranging from performance , to installation, architectural ensembles, video and photography.
For Raqs, time is more than the subject matter of their work. They treat time as if it were an actual medium, using duration, repetition, echo and the traces of our subjective responses to time's passage as raw material for the construction of assemblages that seek to deflect the urgencies proposed by capitalism in favour of more considered ways of thinking about the world.
By creating striking constellations of images, by using found and solicited material, quoting and transforming elements of news photography, ubiquitous signage, theatre, architecture and broadcast sports video, Raqs point to their vision of the networked nature of artistic and cultural production in the contemporary world. The works in this show are in several instances distillations of the many ongoing conversations that Raqs maintains and cultivates across disciplines and genres with different kinds of practitioners. These are the embodiments of their dialogues with theatre, with journalistic photography, with architecture, with theory and discourse.
This polyphonic iteration of their thinking process is in keeping with their understanding of our sense of our time and their own practice as being composed of many different elements that need to speak and listen to one another. 'Extra Time' may be seen as a result of this conversation, as a thoughtful analytical tool, a poetic device, a theatrical demonstration as well as a sporting entertainment that unpacks and re-composes these elements into a cogent yet whimsical set of statements and gestures about being alive to the demands of being artists in today's world.
Raqs has been in continuous conversation with West Heavens since 2010. They were invited by “Place, Time, Play: India China Contemporary Art Exhibition” in 2010, the first exhibition of West Heavens, and created a new performance and installation work Revolutionary Forces. “Extra Time” is also a result of their West Heavens residency in Shanghai in April 2012.
Raqs Media Collective
The Raqs Media Collective (Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula & Shuddhabrata Sengupta) are a contemporary art practice based in New Delhi. Their work takes the form of installations, video, photography, image-text collages, on- and off-line media objects, performances and encounters. They cross contemporary and media art practice with historical and philosophical speculation, research and theory. The Raqs collective have exhibited widely, including at Documenta 11, and the Venice, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Taipei and Sydney Biennales. Works by Raqs Media Collective are part of several major contemporary art collections and museums, including the Thyssen-Bornemisza 21 Contemporary Art Collection, Vienna, The Arani and Shumita Bose Collection, New York, The Centre Pompidou, Paris, The Berger Collection, Moon Chu Collection, Hong Kong and Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon
In 2008, they curated The Rest of Now in Bolzano/Bozen for the seventh edition of the Manifesta Biennial of Contemporary Art in Europe. In 2000, they co-founded the Sarai initiative (www.sarai.net) at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. They are members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader Series.
Seepage, a collection of Raqs' essays and image-text works was published by Sternberg Press, Berlin & New York in 2010. Raqs媒体小组 - 动力沉思 (Raqs Media Collective - Kinetic Contemplations) a collection of essays by and about Raqs has been published (in Chinese) by Beepub Press, Beijing, 2013
Seen at Secundrabagh
Raqs Media Collective and Zuleikha Chaudhari
Scenario for a Performance, with Video, Text and Two Actors
"But then, our eyes begin to work, and travel."
Seen at Secundrabagh is a collaboration between the artists Raqs Media Collective and the theatre director Zuleilkha Chaudhari, both based in Delhi, India. This fifty minute scripted performance featuring Kavya Murthy and Bhagwati Prasad unfolds against the projection of a photograph taken by Felice Beato in Lucknow, India in 1858 and within a scenario designed by Raqs and Chaudhari, with texts and video interventions by Raqs Media Collective. Felice Beato was a pioneering itinerant photographer who documented the Crimean War in Turkey, the 1857 Uprising in India and the Second Opium War in China.
The photograph that comprises the central provocation of Seen at Secundrabagh features an improvised ossuary in front of a stately ruin (in the wake of the mutiny of 1857 in the army of the East India Company in northern India). Fixing a moment in India’s turbulent colonial history, the image appears to be a faithful representation of the facts. Seen at Secundrabagh slices into the stability of this impression with a series of poetic and forensic gestures that displace the power of the recorded image as it moves from the archive to the theatre. In the end, this demands from the spectator the desire to undertake a few forms of space and time travel, with the performers, Raqs and Chaudhari as trusted guides.
Hosted by Chronus Art Center, West Heavens, School of Inter-Media Art of China Academy of Art
Special Thanks to Inter-Asia School, Moonchu Foundation, CP Denmark Aps, WTi Group, Parabola Media Lab
19.00 - 20.00 23rd August, 2013 (by invitation only)
15.00 - 16.00 24th August, 2013 (free, by reservation)
19.30 - 20.30 24th August, 2013 (free, by reservation)
Venue: Chronus Art Center, Shanghai (Bldg. 18, No. 50 Moganshan Rd.)
Reservation email: [email protected]enter.org